Texas' Hamilton admits to relapse

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton once again addressed his troubled history with alcohol abuse, after a Web site published photos of him cavorting with several scantily clad women in a bar last January.

Hamilton created headlines last season with his inspired comeback from the depths of alcoholism and drug abuse to lead the major leagues in RBI and nearly win the Home Run Derby.

The All-Star stood at his locker at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., a couple of hours before game time Saturday and told about a dozen reporters how much he regretted what happened at a bar in Tempe, Ariz. Prior to this latest episode, Hamilton said he hadn’t drank since Oct. 6, 2005.

“I always knew there would be a chance it would come out,” said Hamilton, who has three daughters. “I believe I got to the point where if you have alcohol in your system, your inhibitions go out the window. … It just put me in a bad situation.”

Hamilton, 28, said he had gone for something to eat when he decided to have a drink. A dozen photos posted on show the Texas slugger taking shots off the bar, and dancing and hugging several young women.

“I’m embarrassed about it for my wife, Katie, for my kids and for the organization,” Hamilton said. “I’m not perfect. It’s an ongoing struggle, and it’s real.”

Ortiz blames supplements

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, the latest baseball star linked to disputed 2003 drug-testing results, speculated that legal supplements and over-the-counter vitamins may have triggered his positive test, but he firmly denied ever having purchased or used steroids.

“I definitely was a little bit careless back in those days when I was buying supplements and vitamins over the counter ... but I never buy steroids or use steroids,” Ortiz said at a news conference at Yankee Stadium before the Red Sox’ game against the Yankees.

Alongside Ortiz was Michael Weiner, the newly elected head of baseball’s union, who said there were doubts as to whether every player on the 2003 testing list seized by the government had actually tested positive for steroids.

Short hops

Reds third baseman Scott Rolen was scratched from Saturday’s starting lineup against the San Francisco Giants with concussion-like symptoms. Rolen, who was hit in the head by a pitch from Colorado’s Jason Marquis last Sunday, will be examined in Cincinnati today. … The Chicago Cubs placed right-hander Carlos Zambrano on the 15-day disabled list with muscle spasms in his back. The move is retroactive to Aug. 2. … The Boston Red Sox have placed shortstop Jed Lowrie on the 15-day disabled list with an irritated left forearm. He will fly to Arizona to have his arm examined. … Houston Astros left-hander Mike Hampton left Saturday’s start against Milwaukee after two innings with a right knee sprain. … Baltimore Orioles left-hander Rich Hill had season-ending shoulder surgery. He is expected to resume throwing by spring training. … The Oakland Athletics put left-hander Dallas Braden on the 15-day disabled list with a rash on his left foot.